MP3 Speed: listen to podcasts and audiobooks faster, preserving their pitch and comprehension

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Do you have a lot of podcasts and/or audio books that you want to listen to but are unable to find the time? If so, this program can help.

MP3 Speed is a simple, free program that does one thing: it changes the speed of your MP3 files. There are two ways in which it can do this, however; it can change both the speed and pitch, or it can change the speed and preserve pitch.

The distinction is important, as preserving the pitch means that your podcasts and audiobooks, despite being faster, will be entirely listenable/comprehensible (within a certain range of speed) without having the “chipmunk” effect that you might get if you increase both tempo and pitch.

My suggestion: try it with a couple of podcasts and see how you like it (see the text below for a suggested tempo value that can work).

You can use MP3 Speed to process podcasts, audiobooks, and other MP3 files in batch, for folders and recursively through subfolders (and choosing whether to preserve the original and where the modified files should be saved).

I was first introduced to the notion of modifying the speed of an audio file without modifying the pitch when I reviewed Taffy, a software that can process podcasts to speed them up then serve the podcast to a podcast catcher or a mobile device. The audio results I saw when testing that program were enlightening in that I saw for the first time that accelerated audio files that nonetheless preserved the pitch were completely comprehensible, and not a bad way to listen.

However, it matters a lot how much you increase the tempo; I would recommend that accelerated files be in the range of 135% (i.e. 35% faster than the original), which is the setting used by Taffy. More than that and the files will become simply too fast for comfortable listening.

As to the MP3 Speed program itself, there’s really not much to say. It’s fairly intuitive: drag and drop, batch processing including recursive folders, etc. Works really well

Version Tested: 5.0.0

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 1.7 megs).